Journalist and sociopolitical researcher Ismail Alexandrani has been remanded in custody for another 15 days pending investigations into charges of belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood and disseminating false information, his lawyers said Thursday.
In a Facebook post, defense lawyer Mohamed Baker said Alexandrani is ill with the flu and has been banned from exercise in prison.
Alexandrani is currently being held at Cairo’s Tora Prison. He was arrested by national security forces at the Hurghada Airport on November 29 when he tried to reenter the country via Berlin. He was then moved to Cairo, where he was interrogated for over eight hours by the National Security Prosecution.
The prosecution inspected Alexandrani’s laptop, his cellphone and the business cards he kept in his wallet from friends, fellow journalists and academics, according to his lawyers.
The next day he was remanded in detention for 15 days pending investigations.
Alexandrani was scheduled for another interrogation on December 3, but his lawyers said they were denied entrance to the prosecution building. Security forces argued an x-ray machine had not yet been installed in the building to allow them safe entry, according to defense lawyers. They filed a complaint of misconduct and mistreatment with the State Security Prosecution, and were then told Alexandrani’s interrogation was postponed due to difficulties with transporting him from his place of detention.
Several international and local rights groups have issued statements demanding Alexandrani’s immediate and unconditional release, arguing that his arrest was a form of retaliation against his critique of government policies in his journalistic and academic work.